Lord West of Spithead has been using the term ‘Sea Lightning’ to refer to the F-35B Lightning for years now and each time he does, the Ministry of Defence reject it.
Lord West asked in a written question:
“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the minimum buy of Sea Lightning (F35B) aircraft to ensure the ability to deploy two carriers with the planned 35 jets on each carrier in a national emergency.”
Earl Howe, Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, replied:
“The Ministry of Defence does not recognise the term ‘Sea Lightning’, with ‘F-35B Lightning’ the designation jointly agreed by the First Sea Lord and the Chief of the Air Staff. Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 stated our intent to buy 138 F-35 Lightning aircraft over the life of the programme.
The first tranche of 48 aircraft will be the F-35B; decisions on subsequent tranches of Lightning will be taken at the appropriate time. We are on track to generate two front-line squadrons of F-35B Lightnings by 2023.”
The Ministry of Defence recently confirmed that the UK designation for F-35, will be ‘Lightning’.